Ellie Blume- attended a refresher course in March 2016 expecting baby number 3
"On the evening of 16th March (a week 'overdue') I started having some pretty convincing twinges, and we settled down to listen to our natal hypno CD. During the CD the twinges slowed down so I went to bed at 11pm, miserable and deflated. An hour later, I woke from a dream where I was having contractions to find that it wasn't a dream and that this was the real deal! I timed them for a bit and they were every 4 minutes or so, so Neill started inflating the pool while I came downstairs and laboured over the back of the sofa. I called my midwife Mandy and she said she'd be over straight away, as my last labour was only 4 hours. I tried to call my friend who'd offered to look after my older two children but I couldn't get hold of her, so I tried my back up childcare and they didn't answer either! Eventually I called my mum and she said she'd be straight over. During this time my contractions became quite sporadic and were between every 4 and 8 minutes. As soon as I knew my mum was on her way over they went straight back to every 4 minutes. In my previous labour I loved it when Neill did the 3 2 1 relax from our hypo class, and he did it throughout this labour too. Mandy arrived after about 40 minutes and my contractions were already feeling quite intense. She just kept her distance and didn't do or say very much which I liked! My mum arrived and went straight upstairs to the kids bedroom in case one of them woke up, but luckily neither of them did. Neill continued to set up the pool while all this happened but he was having trouble getting enough hot water in there, so it was getting pretty cold. I kept begging to get in and getting annoyed when I couldn't. I asked for some gas and air to get me through until the pool was full, which I'd asked Neill to question if it happened. He said 'are you sure?' and I think I said something along the lines of 'do it or die, Blumes'!! I kept going upstairs to pee and my mum kept asking if I was okay, I think she was worried but I managed to stay in the zone. The contractions were getting really really intense by this point and I kept imagining putting all my fears and pain in a hot air balloon and cutting it free, which I think I'd heard in one of Maggie's CDs. Eventually the pool was ready and I got in, and the water was such a relief. Almost immediately I felt like I was in transition as I felt out of control and scared, but knowing that it was natural and that it meant I was closer to birth, I relaxed through it. I felt a small urge to push so followed it, but nothing happened. I carried on trying to push for about an hour but my contractions slowed down until the were practically non-existent. Mandy was great and really let me follow my instincts, and eventually I told her I thought something was wrong and she suggested getting out for an examination, which we did. She found there was a lip of cervix in the way which is why nothing was happening. She moved it out of the way which was really uncomfortable, but I breathed through it and it was over in a jiffy. I got back in the pool and I felt the need to push straight away. Because there'd been no natural hormonal build up it was super overwhelming, but just knowing there was a reason for it feeling so intense was helpful and I stayed calm, although I did scream a lot when pushing which I hadn't done in my previous two labours. I gave a huge push and got most of his head out, then gave another little push for the rest of it. Then I had a breather for about 10 seconds and pushed out his body in one push. I sat down and lifted him out of the water to look at him, and he was perfect he was born at 6.12am, 6 hours after my labour started. We had skin to skin while Neill got my mum and the kids, who all came to have a good look at him. After 15 minutes I felt like getting out of the pool, so Mandy suggested trying to push out the placenta. I didn't feel hopeful as it hadn't come easily the last 2 times, but it flew out with one tiny push this time which was a relief! I lay on the sofa to be examined for tears while Neill had cuddles, and luckily I only had a tiny graze. I sat upon and gave baby his first feed while Neill and the midwives tidied up, then Neill dressed him while I had a quick shower. After that we all had a cup of tea together before the midwives went home, and I got to spend the whole day relaxing in my own bed with my brand new baby - bliss! It was a much harder birth than my second, but still so empowering and even when things were a struggle I was armed with the knowledge that told me why it was tough, and I knew to trust my instincts, and I couldn't have got through it if it weren't for that. Neill and I often say our natal hypno class was the best money we've ever spent, as we have beautiful memories of our two hypno births and I guess you can't put a price on that!"
Ellie Blume- attended a refresher course in March 2016 expecting baby number 3
"I had to go in on Tuesday to be induced, had three pesseries from Tuesday 10am and last one Wednesday 12pm. I had managed to get to 2cm and paper thin cervix. Moved to labour ward at 8pm weds waters broken by arm. Contractions started and they gave me till midnight to try and get to 4/5cm so I could have water birth etc. But sadly when I was checked despite good strong contractions at every 3 mins I hadn't moved past 2cm. So we went on the drip. They let me have a monitoring machine that enabled me to move around as much as I like and not once had to get on the bed. Using a ball and huge bean bag lovely dark quiet room, music on massage oil I went through the whole way to 9cm with just breathing through them, they upped the drip every half an hour and got to 12 on that so they were quite strong.., lol. At 4am I was (9cm) started being sick which was no fun, and had an anti sickness jab. It was then game on and time to push although my cervix was still holding him back ever so slightly do I went onto my side with one leg up on the ball I had a very very small cut as at 40mins I was so tired and just needed him out. I used gas and air from 4:10-4:40. And that was it.. So deffo can say I used my hypno tools and managed to stay calm, breathe and get in the zone. Pete did great at helping me talking to me and pressure points etc. Little man was born 4:40am he flew out all in one push, skin to skin and delay cord clamp. 7lb 12oz. Perfect stats. First feed 60ml straight off haha. We had great support throughout and the midwives were really on board with our labour plan. Once I had a little stitch up we were left alone with snacks cuppa and not checked on until I buzzed to get a towel for the shower. Haha. At 9am we went onto postnatal ward. He had all his checks and hearing etc all 100% and we came home at 3pm yesterday so we can start resting and settling in. It's all been very calm and nice. We can't thank u enough for the lessons we learnt with you it was the best thing we did."
Michaela Daly- attended 2 day workshop in January 2016 expecting baby number 2.
I threw the question out there today in various parenting circles- "What is the best gift you received as a new mum?"
Full transparency, I was genuinely interested because I'm hoping to add a retail element to my business soon. I was gearing up for all the answers i was hoping to hear- slings, cloth nappies, washable breast pads, cute outfits, teething necklaces etc etc.
Do you know what the overwhelming answer was?
I've been inspired to write this list, these are my 5 best gifts you can give your new mummy friend.
1. TIME to bond with their baby.
Help out with all those boring tedious household chores. Run the hoover around. Do the washing up. Hire them a cleaner for the first month if you really want to push the boat out. Anything you can do that means she can snuggle up on the sofa or in bed with her precious new bundle so they can get to know each other.
2. TIME to talk about their birth.
Having a safe space to openly discuss her birth with you. Her highs and lows, her experience, how she feels about this amazingly life changing event she's just been through. Make a cuppa each, take a pack of biscuits and simply listen.
3. TIME to focus on any older children.
If this is baby number 2 (or 3, 4 or more!), I guarantee you it will have crossed her mind more than once that having this baby has seriously damaged her relationship with any other children. Now I'm not saying offer to have the new human for hours on end, but a cuddle or offer to watch the sleeping baby so she can do a puzzle, push a swing, read a story. Meet them at a park or soft play and sit with the little one so she can have some much needed big kid time.
4. TIME to eat a hot meal or enjoy a cup of coffee.
So this one probably involves either cooking some meals or helping stock the freezer with easy nutritious ready meals. Help her look after herself and stay well- putting something in the oven, then serving it on a plate can be done one handed if needs be, cooking from scratch? Less so. Be mindful that lots of meals will probably need to be eaten one handed too...
Make her that coffee. Offer to cuddle baby so she can drink it hot. Consider buying her a thermos mug- safer to drink with a baby, and will stay hot longer. Winner.
5. TIME to feel normal.
A 15 minute hot bath on your own has never felt so appealing as when it suddenly feels unobtainable. Likewise a shower to wash your hair.
A pampering treat to look forward to when she's ready to leave the baby.
An offer to baby sit so she can have some time with her partner.
So often, we get lost in the fog of new parenthood, we forget that we also need nourishing too. Its a cliche, but you can't poor from an empty cup.